Category: Workshop tools

SustainabiliTree

— Ankit Kumar, Online content creation intern

 

What is a SustainabiliTree?

The SustainabiliTree is a practical tool which helps us in gaining a holistic view of the issues faced by us in the modern society. The tree exposes the adverse effects of unethical endeavors, the establishments who govern such practices and ideologies that cause ecological, social and economic degradation.

We often refer to the SustainabiliTree when we talk about raging issues like climate change or investments in fossil fuels.

 

What does the SustainabiliTree epitomize?

A tree has 3 main components – leaves, stems and roots. With regards to sustainability, these elements have different connotations:

  • The leaves of the sustainability tree symbolize the symptoms or manifestations of unsustainable practices. Some of these detrimental effects that are widely known are – extreme weather changes, melting of the polar ice-caps, poverty, homelessness, ecological imbalance, loss of biodiversity, emission of greenhouse gases and so on.
  • The trunk of the tree or the stems represents the institutions or entities that deal with untenable conventions and perpetuate unsustainable issues. These could be oil, gas and coal companies, trans-national corporations, organizations investing in guns or drugs, institutions that enforce laws affecting people’s rights, government policies that do not align with sustainability goals or simply enterprises that do not manage their waste systematically.
  • The roots embody the ideologies, theories or philosophies that engender egregious and corrupt practices. These could range from capitalism, environmental racism to even colonialism.

 

What does the SustainabiliTree actually do?

The SustainabiliTree basically touches on how to make change happen.

The leaves of the tree, that is, the symptoms are what is visible to us and what we are affected by, but if we simply get rid of the symptoms, just like leaves they will grow back. There’s a need to fight the symptoms but also change the way policies are devised and implemented by institutions while also keeping in mind the roots of these issues, the systems we operate in and try to find alternatives to them. The SustainabiliTree exposes the roots of problems, and shows us that change has to occur at different levels in order to be efficient.

To understand the broader aspects of Sustainability, the SustainabiliTree is a useful starting point as it helps interested and zealous individuals understand the different dimensions and components concerning Sustainability. The interesting part is that – in a brainstorming session, the SustainabiliTree adapts itself to the ideas generated by a fraternity. So, every time you devise a new SustainabiliTree – different symptoms, different institutions and different ideologies crop up. Thus, one can easily deepen his understanding of sustainability related issues with the help of a SustainabiliTree.